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Is. 64:8-12

6/23/13 V. 8, God is our Father. We are like clay and he is like the potter who made us. But in the end his rod of iron, in Rev 2:27, breaks the vessels that are unfaithful.

V. 9, And so we plead with the Lord not to be too angry with us but to forgive our sins and look upon us once again as his people.

V. 10, Since God has turned away from us his holy cities have become a wilderness. Israel’s enemies conquered all of the cities of Israel, all of which would have been included a holy, since they were part of the inheritance given to Israel by God. However, the Septuagint renders holy city in the singular, which seems to fit the parallelism better since in the following lines it’s Zion or Jerusalem that has become a wilderness desolation. This is as Dan 9:26-17, 11:31, 12:7-11, Mt 24:15, and Mk 13:14 predicted would happen at the end of time, when an abomination that causes desolation would set itself in God’s temple. Rev 11:1-2 foretold the same situation.

V. 11, The holy and beautiful temple where God’s people used to praise him was burned and turned to ruins physically speaking. And spiritually speaking also, (if the reader will understand, Mt 24:15, Mk 13:14) this has happened and will happen in the future.

V. 12, And as the saints under the altar ask in Rev 6:10 we also ask if God will allow these things to happen. How long will God keep silent and allow his people, not to mention his temple, be trampled.

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Posted by on June 23, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Is. 64:5-7

6/22/13 V. 5, He will meet those enjoy doing works of righteousness. It’s one thing to grudgingly do what is right, it’s entirely another to rejoice in it. In everything God’s people must remember his ways. That is to say that we consider what God would have us do, we think of what is the right thing to do and do that.

Unfortunately, we don’t always do this. We have done the opposite and have sinned. Not just once, either, but for a long time. How, asks Isaiah, can we possibly be saved?

V. 6, We are unclean people. Every act of righteousness we may do is like a filthy garment. Rev 19:8 says the fine linen represents the righteous acts of the saints, but this fine linen is given to the saints, which is why John sees them in Rev 7:13 wearing white robes. But this not the result of our own works, it’s the gift of God. We are, instead, like Rev 3:17-18 describes us as pitiful, poor, blind, and naked. Therefore, we wither like a leaf and we are blown away by the wind of our own sinfulness.

V. 7, We do not call upon the name of the Lord as we should. If we did he would answer us and come to our aid. But since we do not call upon him with our whole hearts he hides his face from us. In other words, he withdraws his presence to some degree and allows the consequences of our choices to afflict us.

 
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Posted by on June 22, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Is. 64:1-4

6/21/13 V. 1, Isaiah gives voice to all of God’s people who want this time of sin to be finished and for God to come to redeem his people. Even though Messiah had not come yet, Isaiah was clearly speaking of the Second Coming because the tearing apart of the heavens and the mountains quaking are associated with the parousia (Rev 6:14, 16:20, 20:11).

V. 2, The LXX also says that the mountains will melt as wax melts before fire and the fire will burn up the enemies, which is consistent with the picture even though it’s not in the Hebrew (Rev 14:11, 18; 19:3; 20:9, 14).

Just as fire kindles and grows so the name of the Lord will become known to God’s enemies. In other words, they will acknowledge him and will tremble in his presence (Rev 3:9, 11:11-13).

V. 3, Any time that God works his awesome deeds it is beyond anything that we are prepared for or expect. In the presence of God even the mountains tremble and quake before him (Rev 16:18).

V. 4, There never has been another God besides the living God of heaven. Nothing else that anyone has ever worshiped has been anything close to a god. And his enemies will see the way that he acts on behalf of those who trust and wait loyally for our God (Rev 3:9).

 
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Posted by on June 21, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Is. 63:17-19

6/20/13 V. 17, It always strikes us as unexpected when God is credited with evil. Here God is blamed for causing his people to stray away and harden their hearts. Ex 4:21 is in the background here when God hardened Pharaohs’ heart. We have also the example in 2 Sam 16:14 where an evil spirit “from the Lord” came upon Saul, and in 2 Chr 18:18ff where God is discussing who will lead Ahab astray. And even in the Lord’s prayer Jesus counseled us to pray that God not lead us into temptation.

However, to pull all of these examples together doesn’t prove that God instigates evil. When we pull together all of the information in the whole Bible we find the opposite picture. After full investigation it becomes clear that this idea of God being behind evil is a figure of speech, which God himself initiated in Ex 4:21. God accepts the blame for that which he doesn’t prevent. Like the plaque on Harry Truman’s desk that read “The Buck Stops Here” God accepts the same responsibility.

He is all-powerful, all-knowing God, therefore anything that happens in his universe, by the very fact that he allows it, makes him culpable, even when it’s outside of his will. And God freely accepts this responsibility and blame until the time when he will be vindicated and the blame will be placed squarely upon the true instigators of evil.

So when the author pleads for God to return to his people he is in the same verse showing that he recognizes that God really is not the one responsible for evil. If he were why would we want him around? Instead, God is the one who can save us from evil, and that is why we want him around.

V. 18, God’s promise to his people to make them into a great nation where God could dwell had started off well because we started off faithful. But in the end our enemies has conquered us because we strayed away from the Lord. The sanctuary of the Lord has been given over the Gentiles to trample (Rev 11:2).

V. 19, And the result of straying away from that which we know to be right and true is that we become worse than those who have never lived in relationship with God.

 
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Posted by on June 20, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Is. 63:13-16

6/19/13 V. 13, We ask where is the one who in the past has led his people through the depths of whatever experience they passed through. Because of his leading they didn’t stumble and fall. They were able to press forward by his strength and guidance.

V. 14, Like cattle in green pastures, without anxieties and worries, the Spirit of the Lord gives his people rest. It’s only when we will not be content with the Lord’s leading and try to make our own way that we end up in trouble. But when we follow where he leads our lives, through whatever kind of experience, are filled with peace. And, again, he does this not only for our sake but for his own, for his reputation, for the vindication of his character.

V. 15, And so, like the saints under the altar in Rev 6:9-10, we call upon our God to look down from heaven and see us. We want to know how long he will wait to avenge our blood. We want to see his compassion for us. We want to see his love and zeal for us exhibited in miracles on our behalf.

V. 16, As a child has a right to expect such compassion and care from his earthly father, so we have the right to expect it from our heavenly Father. We have the right to call out to him in our distress. Even when our earthly fathers or our family or our friends refuse to recognize us, our heavenly Father will always be there to hear and redeem us. Redeemer is his name, redemption is his character.

 
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Posted by on June 19, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Is. 63:11-12

6/18/13 V. 11, When God allows the results of our choices to fall upon us it is divine discipline. And eventually, God’s people remember the ways that God has led in the past, his miraculous diliverances in our lives and in the lives of others. And we begin to ask, where is God? Where is the one who brought his people up out of the depths of the sea?

Is appears that translators are unsure how this part of the verse should read. Should it be “brought them up out of the sea with the shepherd…” (NIV, NET, KJV) or “brought them up out of the sea with the shepherds…” (NRSV, ESV, NASB) or “brought them up from the sea the shepherd…” (LXX) or “bringing them up from the sea, the shepherd…” (YLT)? So it’s unclear who the shepherd(s) is/are. It might refer to God or it might refer to the leaders of God’s people like Moses. Both options would fit the verse, since Moses is mentioned at the beginning and the Holy Spirit is mentioned at the end.

In the midst of the trials we face as the result of our choices we also ask where is the one who, in the past, has put his Holy Spirit in among his people.? The Holy Spirit is the promised comforter, and when we don’t have peace we ought to wonder what happened to the comforter.

V. 12, We ask where is the one who guided by his glorious arm, his strength, to guide those like Moses in the past? He divided the waters before them not only for their sake but for his own sake, that his name would be glorified in the earth. In a way the drying up of the Euphrates in Rev 16:12 is a similar situation for God’s people at the end of time. And he does it not only for our sake but for his own sake, that his name will be glorified in the universe.

 
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Posted by on June 18, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Is. 63:7-10

6/17/13 V. 7, Now Isaiah becomes the speaker, responding to God in praise on behalf of the redeemed as we will do on the day of our salvation (e.g. Rev 14:3).

The form of praise is the recounting of the mighty acts of God on our behalf, which demonstrates the depths of his love for us. He has compassion and long suffering toward us.

V. 8, He has claimed us as his own people, sons even, who will not rebel against him. He believes this of us in spite of our rebellion. Therefore, he was willing to become our Savior. He could see a different future for us.

V. 9, His compassion and love is so great that he became a human being and came to join us in our suffering, going even so far as to shed his blood for us (Rev 1:5, 5:9). And because of his love and mercy he redeemed us, ransomed us, lifted us up out of the pit of sin and carried us through this entire time of sin (e.g. Rev 12:14).

V. 10, Incredibly, we were so ungrateful, so blind, so ignorant, so rebellious, that we grieved away his Holy Spirit. So he turned away from us and fought against us. Not that he ceased loving us, as the next verse shows, but because he will not force himself on anyone who rejects him. He allows us to have our own way, which he knows will bring disaster upon us.

 
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Posted by on June 17, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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